Where Do Cherries Grow?

There are a variety of factors which lead to high cherry production in countries such as Turkey and the United States.

The largest producers of cherries today are Turkey and the United States. The largest consumers of cherries, meanwhile, are the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, with cherries also being exceptionally popular across much of the European Union and South America. While the US and Turkey produce predominately sweet cherries, Eastern and Southern Europe produce some of the largest outputs of sour cherries.

Turkey Leads the Way

Turkey is the largest producer of cherries, with nearly 500 thousand metric tons of cherries produced over the course of the last year. Turkey follows behind Chile in terms of exports, coming in 3rd, with the majority of them going towards the Russian Federation and members of the European Union. Earlier, harvesters of cherry in Turkey did not employ modern methods and tactics to grow the plant but, with recent developments, they have been able to increasingly utilize modern techniques for harvesting, along with lengthening their harvest season, for better production. Turkey has the largest plantation area for cherries, followed by the United States and Italy in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Over 60% of exports made by Turkey remain in the European Union, which is similar to the case with Spain.

Cherry Marketing in the US

The United States is one of the largest exporters of cherries in the world, and the second largest producer after Turkey. The US maintained a position as the largest producer worldwide until the last decade, when it was surpassed by Turkey. The United States depends on domestic consumption along with exports for maintaining its cherry industry’s viability. In the year 2009, the consumption of cherries peaked at 1.55 pounds per person in the United States. Advertising is one of the major factors for the ongoing success of cherries in the United States. Various displays and audio advertisements highlight the various health benefits of cherries, which promote the sales to a great extent.

Erratic Chilean Cherry Exports

Chilean harvesters have improved their efficiency to produce cherry crops within shorter durations of time, and have acted on good export opportunities as well. The Chilean agricultural sector is the 7th largest cherry producer in the world, recently being surpassed by Uzbekistan and Spain. Chile is also the 2nd largest exporter of cherries in the world, falling behind only the United States in shipments. Also among the world’s leading cherry consumers, Chile boasted a production of over 90 thousand tons of cherries in the last year. Previously, Chile depended on the United States and Europe to purchase most of its cherries. With the passing of time, however, Hong Kong and China have come to be the largest importers of Chilean cherries today. Over 24,000 metric tons have been shipped to them from Chile annually since 2010. The market in China displays great opportunities, and good marketing schemes are yielding higher demands in the US as well as China. The biggest problem faced by Chilean exporters are inconsistencies in their supply patterns. Due to various internal and foreign relations issues, the nations importing their cherries often face problems. In November 2013, Chilean cherry exports were delayed due to a strike by workers and, by the time the strike was over, a large volume of cherries had accumulated. When all of these cherries were exported at once, the importing nations suddenly had a large surplus volume, and, for many varieties of cherries, there was a dramatic fall in the prices that hurt cherry suppliers, not only in Chile but around the world.

The Spanish Cherry Export Trade

Spain produces a good amount of cherries but can only enter the export market at later stages as the first produced variety Rita is not capable of being transported due to its susceptibility to cracking. Spain is the 5th largest exporter of cherries behind Hong Kong, which focuses on further exporting them to other countries instead of consumption. Spain mainly relies on the European Union for exports, with 25% of its total export being made to the United Kingdom in 2013. Since Hong Kong raises a great demand for cherries as well, Spanish companies are focusing on producing high quality cherries which can be transported easily to Hong Kong.

Cherries: A Complex Global Market

While cherry growing, consumption, and exports are closely related, they are not perfectly correlated. Indeed, places like Hong Kong have high per capita cherry consumption, with limited access to commercial cherry markets in nearby countries and no space to grow the fruits therein. As the global cherry market becomes more intertwined and foreign tastes are increasingly picked up by domestic palates, differentiating between the cherry buying, selling, and growing sectors will become increasingly important.

Cherry Production By Country

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RankCountryCherry Production (tons)
2United States301,205
10Russian Federation78,000

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